4 things to know

4 things to know in Houston food right now: Openings, coming attractions, and reality TV

4 things to know in Houston food: Coming attractions and reality TV

Aaron Bludorn
Aaron Bludorn has named his Houston restaurant. Courtesy of Aaron Bludorn

Editor's note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Openings and coming attractions

One of Houston's most well-regarded chefs quietly opened a new fast casual restaurant in the Energy Corridor. Chick Houz builds on the success chef Roberto Castre (Latin Bites) had at the Chicken Station — a restaurant he opened in the East End in 2018 but is no longer affiliated with — with a menu that features rotisserie chicken (served as plates, sandwiches, or in salads), plus other Peruvian favorites like lomo saltado and yucca fries. 

"This place, I think it's 10 times better [than Chicken Station]," blogger Felice Sloan says on this week's episode of CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast. "It gives me that feel of old school Latin Bites as a more causal spot." 

Chef Aaron Bludorn has revealed that his new Houston restaurant will be called Bludorn. Slated to open later this year in the former The Pass & Provisions space, Bludorn will feature French touches, appropriate for a chef whose prior post was as executive chef of New York's acclaimed Cafe Boulud, but will not be an explicitly French restaurant. As for the other details — will he keep the building's split concept, who else is going to work there, etc — will be revealed as the opening becomes more imminent. 

"While, admittedly, I feel angst about the climate we are opening in, one thing remains unchanged: our goal is the same today as it was the day we started dreaming it up - to create a restaurant that enriches the Houston community, and that brings people joy through hospitality," Bludorn writes in an Instagram post. "I am grateful to have the opportunity to keep our industry thriving, and to be doing it in Houston where my wife Victoria is from and we've decided to put down our roots."

Reality TV

Food Network's Restaurant Impossible aired the episode it filmed at Houston restaurant Habanera & the Guero this week. Shot over a couple of days in February, host Robert Irvine finds the Mexican restaurant struggling to survive. Over the course of the episode, he must repair both the romantic relationship between owner Ben Downing and chef Vanessa Lomeli and the restaurant's dilapidated dining room. Spoiler alert: the couple kiss and make up while the restaurant gets a stylish new interior and three new dishes created by Irvine with low food costs and high profit margins. 

Will it be enough to keep the restaurant in business? Restaurant Impossible's last Houston project, Montrose restaurant Gratifi, closed more than two years after its episode aired. 

Jess DeSham Timmons, executive chef of Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Kitchen in Bravery Chef Hall, will compete on Sunday night's episode of Beat Bobby Flay. Whether Timmons gets to face the chef himself remains a secret; in the episode, she must first get past Leslie Roark Scott, the self-described Barbeque Princess of Ubons Barbeque in Yazoo, Mississippi. The episode airs at 9 pm.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” Timmons tells the Houston Chronicle. “A lot of work goes into that 30 minutes.”